Growing in Holiness
1So abandon # 2:1 Or “rid yourselves.” The Aramaic uses an interesting word that could be translated “oasis rest.” The thought is that we must be completely free from evil and be at rest within. Purity is an oasis rest for the people of God. every form of evil, deceit, hypocrisy, # 2:1 The Greek word hupokrisis (the behavior of a hypocrite) can also be translated “a hypercritical attitude of pulling things apart for judgmental analysis.” The Aramaic can be translated “wearing a face mask.” feelings of jealousy and slander. 2In the same way that nursing infants cry for milk, you must intensely crave the pure # 2:2 Or “unadulterated, guileless milk.” The nourishment contained in the milk of the Word is like an antibiotic for guile. This milk contains an element that can eliminate our guile. Therefore, the Word is guileless, unadulterated milk. spiritual milk of God’s Word. # 2:2 Implied by the Greek word for “spiritual” (logikos), which seems to be a play on words with what Peter says in 1:23–25 concerning the living Word (logos) of God. The “pure spiritual milk” is the sustaining power of God’s Word coming from his very breast, as it were, to nourish and strengthen our inner being. From v. 3 we can see that this “milk” is the Lord himself dispensed to us in the Word of God. Our craving for this “milk” is not only because of necessity but of delight. He is the Seed, the Word, the Milk, the Lord, and the Living Stone. For this “milk” will cause you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life # 2:2 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “grow into salvation.” —3especially now that you have had a taste of the goodness of Yahweh and have experienced his kindness. # 2:3 See Ps. 34:8; Luke 1:53.
4So keep coming to him who is the Living Stone # 2:4 The church is built on Christ, “the Living Stone.” See Ps. 118:22; Isa. 28:16. —though he was rejected and discarded by men but chosen by God and is priceless in God’s sight. 5Come and be his “living stones” # 2:5 To be identified as Christ’s living stones means that we are in union with him and share his nature, for he is the Living Stone. who are continually being assembled into a sanctuary for God. For now you serve as holy priests, # 2:5 Or “priesthood” (or “community of priests”). See Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:4–6. offering up spiritual sacrifices that he readily accepts through Jesus Christ. 6For it says in Scripture:
Look! I lay a cornerstone in Zion, # 2:6 Mount Zion was once a Jebusite stronghold conquered by David (2 Sam. 5:6–9), who made it the capital for his kingdom. This is inside the walls of present-day Jerusalem. Zion is used in both the Old and New Testaments as more than a location. Zion is referred to as the place of God’s dwelling (Pss. 9:11; 48:1–2; 74:2; Isa. 8:18). God’s people are called “Zion maidens” (Song. 3:11; Zech. 9:9) or “people of Zion” (John 12:15). Zion is the heavenly realm where God is manifest (Pss. 84:7; 102:16; 110:1–2; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 14:1).
a chosen and priceless stone!
And whoever believes in him
will certainly not be disappointed. # 2:6 Or “put to shame.” See Isa. 28:16.
7As believers you know his great worth—indeed, his preciousness is imparted to you. # 2:7 Or “Unto you who believe is the preciousness.” That is, all that Jesus is before the Father has now been transferred into our account. We stand before the Father in the “preciousness” of the Son. You are as precious to God as Jesus Christ is. But for those who do not believe:
The stone that the builders rejected and discarded
has now become the cornerstone # 2:7 Or “capstone.” See Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11.
A stone that makes them stumble
and a rock to trip over. # 2:8 Or “a rock of scandal.” The Greek word skandalon means “a trap stick.” See Isa. 8:14.
They keep stumbling over the message because they refuse to believe it. And this they were destined to do. 9But you are God’s chosen treasure # 2:9 This is taken from Ex. 19:5–6 and Mal. 3:17. The Hebrew word is ségulla, which means “a special treasure” (possession). It is used to describe “guarded wealth,” indicating the placement of the king’s jewels, treasures, etc., in a safe, protected place because of their extraordinary value. God says that each believer is a priest and king, his unique and special treasure of great importance—a treasure above all other treasures. See also Titus 2:14. —priests who are kings, # 2:9 The nouns are in apposition (“a group of kings, a priesthood” or “a king’s household, a priesthood”). There are other possible ways to translate this, such as “a priesthood of kings” or “a kingdom of priests.” a spiritual “nation” set apart as God’s devoted ones. He called you out of darkness to experience his marvelous light, and now he claims you as his very own. He did this so that you would broadcast his glorious wonders throughout the world. # 2:9 See Isa. 42:12 (LXX) and 43:20–21 (LXX), where it is translated as “praises” or “worship.” The Greek can also be translated “God’s excellences” (virtues) or “wonders.” 10For at one time you were not God’s people, but now you are. At one time you knew nothing of God’s mercy, because you hadn’t received it yet, but now you are drenched with it! # 2:10 Or in Aramaic, “mercies cascade over you.” See Hos. 1:6, 9; 2:23. Both Israel and the church have been divinely chosen and showered with mercy.
Living Godly Lives
11My divinely loved friends, since you are resident aliens and foreigners in this world, I appeal to you to divorce yourselves from the evil desires that wage war within you. # 2:11 Or “that wage war against your soul.” 12Live honorable lives as you mix with unbelievers, even though they accuse you of being evildoers. For they will see your beautiful works and have a reason to glorify God in the day he visits us. # 2:12 See Matt. 5:16; 18:20.
13In order to honor the Lord, you must respect and defer to the authority of every human institution, # 2:13 Or “every authority instituted by men.” whether it be the highest ruler # 2:13 Or “emperor.” At the time Peter wrote this letter, the Roman emperor was the infamous Nero, known for his tyranny and corruption. 14or the governors he puts in place to punish lawbreakers and to praise those who do what’s right. 15For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people # 2:15 That is, the unbelievers. The Aramaic makes it even more explicit: “the foolish who do not know God.” by doing what is right.
16As God’s loving servants, you should live in complete freedom, but never use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. 17Recognize the value of every person and continually show love to every believer. Live your lives with great reverence and in holy awe of God. Honor your rulers.
The Example of Christ’s Sufferings
18Those who are servants, # 2:18 Or “slaves.” submit to # 2:18 The Greek word hupotasso means “to support, uphold, be under (authority).” the authority of those who are your masters—not only to those who are kind and gentle but even to those who are hard and difficult. 19You find God’s favor by deciding to please God even when you endure hardships because of unjust suffering. 20For what merit is it to endure mistreatment for wrongdoing? Yet if you are mistreated when you do what is right, and you faithfully endure it, this is commendable before God. 21In fact, you were called to live this way, because Christ also suffered in your place, leaving you his example for you to follow.
22He never sinned
and he never spoke deceitfully. # 2:22 See Isa. 53:9.
23When he was verbally abused, he did not return with an insult; when he suffered, he would not threaten retaliation. # 2:23 See Isa. 53:7. Jesus faithfully entrusted himself into the hands of God, who judges righteously. 24He himself carried our sins # 2:24 See Isa. 53:4, 12. in his body on the cross # 2:24 Or “the tree.” so that we would be dead to sin # 2:24 The Greek word apoginomai, a hapax legomenon, means “to die” or “die to something.” Although not the usual word for “to die,” Peter is using this metaphorically for “dying to sin.” and live for righteousness. Our instant healing flowed from his wounding. # 2:24 The Greek word for “healing” (iaomai) clearly refers to physical healing and is used as a medical term to describe curing the physical body. This healing includes the body, soul, and emotions. It was fulfilled in two ways: first, by the healing ministry of Jesus, and second, by the blood of Christ’s wounds. See Matt. 8:16–17; Isa. 53:5. 25You were like sheep that continually wandered away, # 2:25 See Isa. 53:6. but now you have returned to the true Shepherd of your lives—the kind Guardian who lovingly watches over your souls.